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Archive for the ‘cats’ Category

We are getting some badly needed rain.  It has been threatening all morning, flashing and muttering under its breath, teasing us with brief sprinkles.

The radar shows that all of this activity is moving along to the south, which is odd because most of the lightning and clouds I am looking at are to the north of me.  At any rate, I am glad it is raining.   We need for the ground to be nicely wet and more rain promised in order to distribute the beneficial nematodes that are reputed to dine on Japanese beetle grubs.  With a good rain under our belt, and more promised, we can order the supplier to ship them.  With any luck, the weather will cooperate and keep the ground nice and wet after they are applied.

I am happy that there is a storm, Impy is NOT.   I don’t know what horrible trauma happened to him in his kittenhood, but he is terrified of thunder and slinks off full speed ahead for the nearest closet as soon as the first distant rumble occurs.  This morning has been just terrible for him.  With the sporadic nature of this storm, there have been periods of calm in between the heavenly percussion performance long enough for him to stick his whiskers out.   Inevitably, as soon as he is bold enough to exit his sanctuary, a random clap of thunder will send him scurrying back under cover.

We have hypothesized that Impy can understand the weatherman and has listened to all the instructions regarding what to do to be safe in a stormy situation.   If you don’t have a shelter to move into, you should stay in an interior room (preferably with no windows) and put a pillow over your head.  When you hear thunder, you should keep yourself as close to the ground as possible while you move to shelter to minimize the danger of being struck by lightning.   And for God’s sake, don’t go stand under a tree.

Our local YMCA is so careful about lightning danger that they clear the pool if there is any within a few miles of us.   Consequently, this morning our water aerobics class was only 15 minutes long.

I have been surfing the interwebs excessively, so I finally decided I ought to get something worthwhile done instead of endlessly posting on facebook.  I made the bed, and cleaned the catboxes.   I did the dishes, and I am contemplating the idea of vacuuming.   I am pretty sure I can spend enough time on my blog that I simply won’t have time to do that chore before I have to leave for my mammogram.

While I was washing the dishes the storm finally blew into our area and produced a measurable amount of rain.   I was musing as I scrubbed my pots about how one would depict the skies opening up as a response to a prompt of “Open” on an the Art Journal Adventure.   The view out my window captivated me as I worked and pondered.  The finches are busy at  the feeder, they don’t care it is raining and neither do the squirrels, who use their tails as easily as an umbrella as they do a sunshade or blanket.

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The rain will be good for the garden too.  The peas are about an inch tall, and the lettuce that we tended all winter is going gangbusters.   I heartily endorse the use of cold frames in this climate.   We ate beautiful lettuce all winter.

So as I allowed this train of thought to pass through the station of my mind, a huge ground strike flashed down just to the northeast.

I was standing at the window, scrubbing a metal pot with my hands in running water, and I recalled the wisdom that says you can get a pretty bad shock if lightning strikes near your water line when you have your hands in running water.   Suddenly I thought “If that bolt had struck the house and electrocuted me where I stood, I suppose my last thought would have been ‘Impy was right’.”

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It’s raining mice

We live in an older home, and are aware that it is certainly not mouse-proof.

Every once in a while a pioneering mouse finds its way inside.  Sometimes it goes back outside and invites its relatives to join it in colonizing the place.  This seems to have been the case this summer.

Jim opened up the liquor closet a few weeks ago and surprised a mouse  squatting in the middle of the shelf.   What it thought it was going to do with all that scotch, gin, bourbon and assorted liqueurs is beyond me.   Maybe there was going to be a big party upstairs.

That particular mouse did not get to attend the putative festivities, since Jim immediately set one of the mouse traps, baiting it with some fine cheddar cheese.   The mouse departed this mortal plane later that night.   It was evident that there was probably another mouse in the house though, as the remainder of the cheese was gone when we checked the trap in the morning.

We re-set the trap and waited.   Apparently eating the remainder of the cheese with its dead relative close by was creepy enough that the mouse that did the deed was not anxious to return to the scene.   At any rate, the cheese got stale and no further mice were caught.  Hopeful, we decided that maybe we were wrong, and there weren’t any more mice.  Or that they had left for more salubrious climates.

Alas, it was not so.  A few days later, Jim opened one of the cooking utensil drawers and surprised another mouse, who squatted amidst the barbecue skewers, sieves, and steamer baskets looking up at Jim in great consternation.   Jim was startled as well, and slammed  the drawer closed.  The mouse departed, posthaste.

Mallory and Impy were of the opinion that it had taken up residence under the stove and the adjacent cabinet, and kept that area of the house staked out on a regular basis.  The mouse was cagey.

The other night, though, it was thirsty.   It takes a pretty bold mouse to use the cat’s water dish as its source of water, but this mouse was desperate.   We had gone to bed and things were more or less quiet.  The mouse was creeping across the dining room on its way to procure a drink when Jim felt a similar need.  He turned on the light, catching the mouse in the dead middle of the room.    Quickly, it darted under the couch.   We rounded up the cats and set them on the scent, but once again the mouse had managed to escape.  It did not stop once it was safe under the couch, but continued out the other side.  Apparently it found the baseboard heating unit to be a convenient refuge.

Things didn’t progress much on the mouse front for the next few days.   We were not so sanguine as to think it had moved on, though.

Last night it was wandering around up in the attic.    Suddenly, it made a misstep, and fell down inside the framework that supports the whole house fan.   Under the fan is a set of aluminum louvers that is about 30″ square.  When you turn on the giant fan that is in the attic, the suction is such that it pulls the louvers open.   We had been awakened by the thump and subsequent scrambling about of the mouse, arose from our bed and were standing under the fan and pondering what to do.   Mallory was fascinated, as she is fascinated by all the odd things that her people choose to do.

Jim poked the switch, the fan began to turn, and the louvers opened.  The mouse fell through the fan opening and landed on the carpet about six inches in front of Mallory.

Since she is blind, it took her a few seconds to get the scent of mouse and realize what had happened.  The mouse was squatting on the carpet, stunned by its fall from the attic.   I think it hoped that if it just stayed very still maybe no one would notice its dark grey mouse form on the white carpet.

“Ha!”  Mallory finally said, once the musky mouse scent reached her. “It’s raining mice!  What will they think of next?”

Unfortunately, the mouse was faster than she was, and escaped into the back bedroom.   We apprised Impy of the situation.  Once again, a baseboard heater provided refuge.  For the rest of the night Impy had the mouse pinned down.  Every once in a while we would hear the cat crashing into the metal base board heater when the mouse stuck its head out from its refuge, hoping that the coast was clear.

It is unknown at this point whether Impy succeeded in catching the mouse.   Stay tuned for further developments….

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“I Could Pee on This”  is a book of poems ostensibly written by cats.    The author, Francesco Marciuliano, is also known for being the author of the cartoon “Sally Forth”.

All I can say is, Marciuliano successfully channels cat-think in this charming little book.

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It is sized appropriately for a bedside table.   It would also reside neatly on the top of a toilet tank, where one could amuse oneself mightily by dipping into the offerings within the book.    Such as “Nectar of the Gods”, an ode to the superiority of faucet water to the water in a bowl on the floor.

Jim’s favorite is “The World Outside my House”

In the world outside my house

The mice jump in your mouth

And birds serve themselves in butter

Rather than fly south………

In the world outside my house

The sun is a laser light

Each cloud a snuggly blanket

And the doors are not shut tight

In the world outside my house

All the trees they dangle string

The flowers brush from head to tail

And the neutered cat is king

In the world outside my house

I can never go

But as an indoor cat I know these things

Because the dog does tell me so.

Impy knows this poem well.   He spends an inordinate amount of time staring out the window.   Surprisingly, I do not have a single image of him doing this.  But I now know that this poem trails through his little feline brain while he is engaged in that activity.

Just one more, this one is my favorite (today)

THIS IS MY CHAIR

This is my chair

This is my couch

That is my bed

That is my bench

There is my chaise

There is my settee

Those are my footstools

Those are my rugs

Everywhere is my place to sleep

Perhaps you should just get a hotel room

I do have an appropriate image for this poem.   Ruby is not a young dog any longer, and is starting to get arthritic.   In order for her to be more comfortable, I went out and purchased a dog bed for her.   Hah.   She doesn’t really like it, and only lies on it when bidden to, just in order to make me happy, it appears.

THIS IS MY BED

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“Maybe you should just go outside and sleep in your doghouse.”

It really is a very fun little book.   Anyone who has ever been owned by a cat will recognize every single attitude expressed within.

Thank you Peggy, for this positively entertaining little volume.

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Last time I talked about the quilt here on the blog, it wasn’t quite done.   Well, it is totally pieced now, and at the quilter.   This stage has been promised to be done in the first half of December, which would still give me time to put the binding on it.   Right now, while I am waiting for the quilting to be finished, I am working on matching pillow cases.

At any rate, this is the portrait of the finished quilt.

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Here is a small detail picture that gives you a better idea of the fabrics.   The star fabric is quite magical, and doesn’t photograph worth beans.  The stars are printed on the fabric in a holographic ink, so they are iridescent when the angle of view changes.   Really cool.

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I mentioned being visited by Twylla Alexander, the woman who walked my labyrinth.    She has posted about that on her own blog, the link to her post is highlighted.   There is a picture of me in the labyrinth and a couple of shots of it in her post.   She was so kind.  She brought me a quite beautiful rock collected near the Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau, plus a few shells from Auke Bay.

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The yesterday, one of my clients brought me a rock she picked up at the Crazy Horse memorial.   They have a pile of rubble from the blasting near the museum exit for people to help themselves.    This is truly an outstanding piece of granite.   I have included a close up so you can see how beautiful it really is.

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I truly have to be one of the most unique massage therapists in existence.   I absolutely love rocks, and all my clients know this.   This is not the first gift of a rock I have received from a client, nor will it be the last, I suspect.   They all know that I am happy to receive a rock as a Christmas present.   As a matter of fact, the following wonderful fossil is in a head sized rock that one of my dear clients gave me as a Christmas present last year, much to the amazement of her son.

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We are no stranger to granite around here.   On our recent trip to Washington and Alaska,  Jim and it had a road trip day to Whidbey Island (north of Seattle).  There we walked on the beach near Fort Casey and collected several pieces of beach polished rock there.   Lots of different kinds of granite around Puget Sound.

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This is not a new rock, I’ve had it several years.  But I always enjoy this little smiling caricature that lives in with my plants near the front door.

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I have to report that the three animals have consolidated themselves into a family.   Impy and Mallory have been discovered sleeping together on my leather arm chair.

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This is about the third shot, which is why neither of them is actually sleeping.  Incidentally, I believe that this arm chair is the epitome of “distressed” leather.   Its condition distresses me.   The patch behind Impy’s head is a spot where there was a small hole which was exceedingly exciting for a small kitten because it had white stuffing protruding from it.   Not only did she enlarge the hole, but she strewed stuffing all over the living room.   The patch is glued on, and almost matches…   Someday I will achieve new furniture.  Maybe.

Sometimes Mallory decides to “own” Ruby’s toys, much to Ruby’s dismay.    She almost seems to be saying, “Why did we have to get this cat, tell me again?”  in this photo.

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I’d say that fall is pretty much over here in the Ozarks, as we have had several below freezing mornings here.   Most of the leaves are on the ground, and most of the ones here at The Havens have been gathered up and put into the mulching container.   I spent a productive day a few days ago running the compost grinder, grinding up the years accumulation of bark and twigs and garden clippings.   I have a pile of ground plant material that is more than a cubic yard that I need to move into the mulch container along with the leaves.   But that will not happen before my back gets over the grinding operation….

Meanwhile, I had a couple of really nice seasonal shots that I haven’t posted yet.   This was how the maple by the pond looked a couple of weeks ago.

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When I walked down to the Big Piney River, I got a wonderful shot of the bluff with the trees turning.   I didn’t feel it was appropriate to include in the Trash Report, for some reason.

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I guess this is as good a place as any to close this post.

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That old saying “Time flies when you’re having fun”  also applies to working hard.

I did indeed go to Alaska.  We cruised for three days up the Inside Passage to Juneau and Skagway.   It was beautiful.

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We went whale watching and did see whales, both humpbacks and orcas.  All those amazing photos you see of whales?   Taken by professionals who got 5000 shots just like mine:

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Out of focus and not very interesting.   But the experience was fantastic.

We also saw the Mendenhall Glacier.

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There was a glacially carved pond along the walk way to the view point.   I loved this.

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I was entranced by the moss/lichen forests.

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The area right below the view point for the glacier was roped off from visitors.   The arctic terns were nesting there.   I watched a pair in their mating dance; the male flew down to the glacial lake and brought his intended a little tiny salmon.   She accepted it.   Farther down the beach there was a female who was deep in the process of incubation.

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We went on a bus tour of the inland part of the state, starting in Canada and crossing into Alaska near Tok.   On to Fairbanks, where I did the tourist things I never did while I lived there:   sailing on the Riverboat Discovery on the Chena to the Tanana River, visiting a gold dredge and learning to pan for gold.   It was fun.

Then we took the Alaska Railroad to Denali National Park.   There were more mountains than it seems possible.   And wildlife.   Mostly moose.  This was taken on our wildlife tour in the park.   This mama had twin babies.   They were less than 24 hours old.

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When I got back home, there was a 60th birthday to celebrate, which was done appropriately.   Apparently I am not quite done with my birthday.   Yesterday in the mail I received a beautiful ammonite fossil that someone anonymously ordered off Etsy and had shipped to me.   I feel special and loved.

While we were aboard the ship, we sat for professional portraits.   I believe this is a good way to demonstrate how 60 looks.

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Back at home, I had plenty of work waiting for me.   I got my day lily bed north of the stroll garden cleaned out, much to the day lilies’ relief.  They were being swamped by goldenrod, violets, wild iris and sundry other volunteers.   That took a few days.

I also had to catch everyone up on their massages, and I have been very busy with that ever since we got home.

Last night Jim mentioned that he thought we ought to rake the algae out of the pond that has been forming.  I went out there to do some of that this afternoon.  I decided to be circumspect about it, rather than just wholesale rake in clumps of algae.   I am very glad I did.   It is being used by literally dozens of tiny salamander newts.   They were not too happy to be fondled and photographed by the local paparazzi.

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You can see his gills and tiny legs.   I believe we may  be leaving the algae alone.

Of course the robins have been very busy too.  This fellow was outside my massage room window the other day, chirping loudly to his parents to induce them to feed him.   They were just as loudly exhorting him to move his butt off the juniper and learn to hunt for himself.   He won the day that afternoon, but I saw him out on the lawn a couple of days later, following his papa around and learning to find bugs for himself.   This is so gosh darned cute.

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When I left in mid May, the vegetable garden only had the cool weather crops in, and so since the beginning of June I got the squash, beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and I don’t know what all else planted.   It is doing just fine.

We’ve been feasting on beautiful salads.

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This is how the garden looks today.   Notice the wooden boxes rather in the middle.   Those are the potato towers.   I’ll let you know how the crop is.

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Just in case I thought that all this belonged to me, the wren was there to set me straight.

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Well, that catches you all up a bit, I hope.   It is a long summer still.   Now I believe I shall hang out ANOTHER load of laundry and then take Ruby for a walk.

It won’t be a moment too soon for Mallory, who is trying to take a nap on the chair behind me and wishing I would move my derriere off Her Chair so she can get comfortable.  Cats.   Always willing to put your importance into perspective.

We

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It seems like the garden goes through color phases each year, starting yellow and transitioning to blue before bursting into the hot reds and oranges.  Of course, this falls into the category of “glittering generalities” that we were warned against severely during high school English essay production.  Needless to say, with my eclectic taste in flowers, there is never a time when there is only one color showing at The Havens.

Once I toyed with the idea of creating a “Moon Garden'” having been enticed toward the idea by a lavishly illustrated article in some gardening magazine or other.   But when I started trying to plan the thing, I realized that I am constitutionally unable to make a garden that only sports silvery foliage and white flowers.  Heck, I couldn’t even plan it without feeling the need for “just a touch of color.” (Afficionados of “The Bird Cage” will get that reference.)

Last year my method of dealing with my unruly wisteria vine (is there any other kind?) was to walk around the pergola with my pruning shears and whack back anything that dared to hang over the edge and intrude on my personal space.   Apparently this was just the treatment it needed, because this year it is absolutely stunning in bloom.

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Getting this photograph illustrates a problem in The Havens yard vis-a-vis photography.   Frankly, this place would drive a professional photographer stark raving mad, since it is never properly prepped for a photo op.  Right now the area near the pergola is a construction zone as we work on the barbecue/wood fired bread oven area.   So my initial attempt at getting the glorious wisteria looked like this:

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Even careful cropping cannot rescue this version.   However, it does add a note of realism to the image.

Another part of the yard that is very blue right now is the front.   The peonies are still only buds, so the pink that will become prominent soon is not evident.   Also, the redbud is finished blooming.   Instead, we have lots of wood hyacinths and veronica.

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Okay, okay.  Yes, there is an iris in there.   I told you I couldn’t do monochrome!  Actually, that is a reblooming iris that shows up again in the fall.   I believe she deserves a closer look.

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Actually, there is more than one iris out there, and in short order there will be many more.   Then the Blue Period will be only a memory.

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But I digress.   The Stroll Garden has quite a lot of blue showing right now, especially the Scree Slope and Rain Garden areas.   The main blues here are the ajuga and veronica, but the foliage of the dianthus back there definitely falls into the blue category.

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You really need to have a look at that bank of candytuft closer up.   It is really “on” right now.

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The very last daffodils are still out there, but they will be gone soon.   This is a late blooming minature (she’s about 4 cm in diamter) called “Chiva”.

Cat owners will appreciate the fact that I got up from my computer chair for about 2 minutes to go look up “Chiva’s” name and when I got back Mallory had established herself in the chair and was studiously engaged in washing.   “I’ve been here all morning, what do you want?” was the look she directed at me when I sat down.   Not on her, mind  you, no matter how tempting it was.

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Just behind “Chiva” you can see the blue of a stem of camassia, also referred to as quamash.   This is a plant the Midwest Native Americans used for food.   Since it is a native of the area, I have it liberally scattered all through the Stroll Garden.   Here it is setting off the Japanese kerria bush, which is in full not-blue bloom right now.

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Here is a drift of it sharing space with the day lilies.

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You will note evidence of the lack of photo op preparation here if you look closely at this shot.   It includes such various weeds as white violets, lady’s bedstraw, and henbit.   When I was shooting the Scree Slope for the veronica and candytuft, I pulled out a few errant wild lettuces before I took the picture.   But this area requires more attention than I was willing to devote before I made a blog post.

Actually, I am on my way there.   I started over by the swing and worked my way along under the pine trees, removing hen bit and wild oats for the most part.   I had to make a detour past my large clumps of miscanthus grass, which I neglected to burn off this spring, and remove all the old stalks and foliage that were suffocating the new growth.   While I was back in that corner I worked myself into an emotional tizzy as I weeded Mike’s grave.     What a gorgeous boy he was.

Mike by pond

I still miss him.  I had a little blue period about him….  But I’m better now.   After all, I have Impy and Mallory now.  And they are wonderful cats too.

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After a lot of fitful starts and stops, it appears that spring has finally come to the Ozarks.   We had a lot of swings in temperature last month, one day it would be in the 60s and then the next it would be freezing and snowing.

Through it all the crocuses carried on bravely.   I had daffodils that got snowed on and showed no ill effects.

In the interim I have started going to water aerobics on a regular basis.   When I first started, there were things I really couldn’t do, and I certainly could not keep up with the instructor.   Now I can keep up with her and my core has gotten strong enough that I can do the things that were impossible before.   And my love handles have shrunk.

I started out a little too fast and intense, and wound up being very sore.   After a few weeks, my dear husband commented that perhaps I ought to give myself a chance to get in shape.   “After all, you aren’t twenty five any more, it takes longer for your body to recover.”

Of course, this elicited a bit of a grumble, but I had to acknowledge that I am staring sixty in the face, and June isn’t that far away.  So I cut back to three days a week, and I find that my body is much happier with me.  If things keep on this way, after next week I will start going four days a week and see how it goes.

I have been to Texas since we last were together here at The Havens.   I visited my older sister for a few days, took my quilt to her quilt guild to be admired (which it was).   I find I am quite the anachronism as pretty much everybody does their quilting by machine nowadays.   I chose to hand quilt the baby quilt so I could work powerful protective and loving energy into it.   I don’t think you get the same result with a machine.

While I was in San Antonio, I was escorted about to some of the numerous stores that sell quilt fabric there.  I felt much like a kid in a candy store with only five cents to spend, but I came home with a lot of beautiful stuff, including the rest of the fabrics I need for the next quilt I am going to make, which will be for Jesse and Lynette.   I have the strips cut out, but have not started sewing them together yet.   Soon.

Another thing that has happened is that young Mallory has gone blind.   Several trips to the vet and we discovered that the lesions she had were the symptom of a deterioration that appears to be congenital.   We believe she may be able to see large dark and light areas sketchily, although lately I doubt she even has that.    It hasn’t slowed her down much.   She still plays chase games with Impy and they wrestle.   He chirps at her so she can locate him, and he is very kind about now cheating in the games and sneaking away from where she last heard him.

Occasionally she gets confused as to where she is, but that is happening less and less.   She really gives us a dirty look if we leave the chairs out from the dining table and she runs into one.   Also, we have had to acquire a trash can with a lid for the kitchen as the heightened sensitivity of her sense of smell has led her astray in that direction.    She stole a chicken bone out of it the other day; I guess it just smelled too good to ignore.

So, the vegetable garden has seeds planted in it, but nothing is up yet.   No big surrprise there.   Soon.

So, I shall go off to give the latest massage and talk to you all later.

 

 

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